There appears to be a disconnect between Brandon Jacobs and Jim Harbaugh about the running back's left knee.
Asked on Monday why Jacobs did not play Sunday against the Bills despite practicing in full the week before, Harbaugh said it was because Jacobs hadn't fully recovered from a knee injury suffered Aug. 18. "Once we went through the whole week," Harbaugh said, "he's still not quite there."
Jacobs, who told reporters last week he was fine, reiterated that today to USA Today's Mike Garafolo. "I feel great. I feel phenomenal. My leg is as fresh as yours." Jacobs said he could have played against the Bills and the week before against the Jets as well.
Jacobs may be a victim of the 49ers' success. Their roster is loaded with quality veterans from top to bottom, and they are astoundingly healthy after five games. Only three players - Jacobs, punter Andy Lee (hand) and quarterback Alex Smith (finger) - were listed on their Wednesday practice report, and all three practiced in full. The Giants, by contrast, listed 13 players on their injury report.
Only one of the team's draft picks, sixth rounder Trenton Robinson, has gotten on the playing field this season. The two top picks, A.J. Jenkins and LaMichael James, have had to be content with lining up as the opponents' offensive weapons on the 49ers' scout team.
Jacobs, who does not play special teams, finds himself as the fourth tailback behind Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter and Anthony Dixon, who is a core special teams player. Jacobs' role this year figures to have been as a short-yardage specialist, especially in the team's "jumbo" alignments. Jacobs, after all, weighs 260 pounds.
So far, however, those carries have gone to Gore.
Jacobs told Garafolo that "It would disappoint me a lot" if he didn't get to play against his former team, the Giants, on Sunday. "But like I said, it's not my call."
Jacobs was notably outspoken when he was with the Giants, in recent years over how he was used in New York's offense. Harbaugh, meanwhile, has instilled a team-first mentality that most of his players - even Randy Moss, apparently - have accepted.
Said Jacobs: "I've learned over the years when you open your mouth and say certain things, it hurts you, so I'm just going to shut up and keep working."
-- Matt Barrows